Facts About Child Hunger in America
Poverty and Childhood Hunger:
As you might imagine, hunger is a problem that most often affects children from low-income families. A common way we measure poverty is the federal poverty level, a number set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal poverty level is the minimum amount of money a family needs each year to afford the necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, and transportation.
In 2020, the federal poverty level was $26,200 for a family of four. Of course, this number is a minimum. Families making twice that much are still considered low-income by most experts, and many struggles to make ends meet.
What Does it Mean to be Hungry:
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life. There may be enough for today, but there is uncertainty if there is enough food for tomorrow. This can be a temporary situation for a household, or it can last a long time.
What Causes Food Insecurity:
Many people in America struggle to meet their basic needs. Lay-offs at work, unexpected car maintenance, health issues, or an accident on the job can suddenly force a family or senior to choose between buying food and paying bills.
According to the latest estimates, as many as 13 million children in the United States live in "food insecure" homes. That phrase may sound mild, but it means that those households don't have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life.
What are the Effects of Food Insecurity:
- Serious health complications, especially when people facing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food and medicine or medical care
- Damage to a child's ability to learn and grow
- Loss of independence for seniors who rely on food access to stay in their homes
- Reduced ability for adults to focus at work and keep their jobs